|Publication number||US7763865 B2|
|Application number||US 11/662,459|
|Publication date||Jul 27, 2010|
|Filing date||Sep 29, 2005|
|Priority date||Sep 30, 2004|
|Also published as||EP1797571A1, EP1797571B1, US20070262274, WO2006035232A1|
|Publication number||11662459, 662459, PCT/2005/3743, PCT/GB/2005/003743, PCT/GB/2005/03743, PCT/GB/5/003743, PCT/GB/5/03743, PCT/GB2005/003743, PCT/GB2005/03743, PCT/GB2005003743, PCT/GB200503743, PCT/GB5/003743, PCT/GB5/03743, PCT/GB5003743, PCT/GB503743, US 7763865 B2, US 7763865B2, US-B2-7763865, US7763865 B2, US7763865B2|
|Inventors||Quentin Creed, Duncan Neil Bourne, Ralph Peter Streamer|
|Original Assignee||Elekta Ab|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (35), Classifications (14), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This Application is a Section 371 National Stage Application of International Application No. PCT/GB2005/003743, filed 29 Sep. 2005 and published as WO 2006/035232 on 06 Apr. 2006, in English.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to radiotherapeutic apparatus.
2. Background Art
The use of radiation in various forms to treat cancers and the like is an established art. A beam of harmful radiation is directed towards a patient and is absorbed by the tumourous cells, causing their death. One of the problems inherent in doing so is that the radiation is likewise capable of causing harm to healthy tissue around the tumour.
In practice, a number of measures are taken to limit the irradiation of non-tumourous tissue. An important measure is the use of suitable collimators, including so-called “multi-leaf collimators” or MLCs. These include a number of leaves arranged adjacently so that they can project into the beam. Each leaf is independently adjustable and thus the tips of the leaves can define an arbitrarily shaped aperture corresponding to the shape of the tumour. An example of an MLC is shown at EP-A-0,314,214, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
This aperture, or the aperture of an alternative collimator, will of course need to be aligned to the precise position of the patient. This can be done in a number of ways, but a common first step is to project visible light along the beam path so that a bright image is visible on the patient showing the outline of the collimator. This provides a good first check of the patient position.
A problem commonly encountered in this step is that the light can reflect off internal surfaces in the radiation source. Where an MLC is used, this includes the sides of the leaves themselves. This can produce “ghost” images, that is bright areas in the image that are simply the result of internal reflections and do not correspond to irradiated areas. With a complex MLC shape in particular, these reflections can be distracting.
The present invention therefore provides a method of treating the surface of an item for a radiotherapy apparatus, comprising the steps of machining into a planar reflective surface of the item a stepped profile, each step having a first surface angled to the planar reflective surface such that, in use, the first surface reflects light incident on the planar reflective surface away from the isocentre of the radiotherapy apparatus and a second surface angled with respect to the planar reflective surface and the first surface such that, in use, the second surface is shadowed from light incident on the planar reflective surface by the first surface, the steps having a depth which does not exceed 2.15% of the total depth of the item.
Typically, for an MLC leaf installed in a radiotherapeutic apparatus, light will be incident on the planar surface at an angle of about 0.6°, in this case, the first surface may conveniently be provided at an angle of between about 10° and 90°. More desirably, the first surface is provided at an angle of between about 30° and 60°, most conveniently, the first surface is provided at an angle of about 45°.
The depth and pitch of the steps and angle of the second surface are selected with respect to the first surface such that the second surface is entirely shadowed by the first surface when light is incident on the first surface. The relationship can be defined as in
To minimise undesirable reflections, it is desired that surface D shade surface C from light incident on the planar surface at angle s. This can be achieved by B being greater than or equal to s, A being less than or equal to (s+45°) and greater than or equal to s.
The pitch of the steps is desirably of the order of about 0.9 to 2.5 mm, preferably about 2 mm, the depth of the steps is desirably of the order of 0.015 mm to 0.03 mm, preferably about 0.02 mm.
The steps may be provided across substantially all or just a portion of the planar surface. Desirably, the steps are substantially identical in geometry and are equally spaced across the stepped profile.
Various commonplace machining methods may be used to machine the steps, for example, but not strictly limited to; milling, wire eroding, spark eroding or EDM.
Once the machining has been completed, the item can then be assembled with other items to form a radiotherapeutic apparatus. Typically, the item is a leaf of a multi-leaf collimator since these display the worst reflections, but other internal surfaces of the apparatus will also benefit.
The present invention also relates to the corresponding products, that is items which, in use, have a surface exposed to the interior passageway of a radiotherapy apparatus, at least part of that surface having been subjected to the method of treating a surface hereinbefore described.
An embodiment of the present invention will now be described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying figures in which;
These reflections arise through the very flat surface presented by various items within the beam path, such as the MLC leaves. However, particularly in the case of the MLC leaves, these surfaces must have a high flatness tolerance of the order of less than 30 microns in order to fulfill their functions during irradiation. Specifically, the purpose of the MLC leaves is to block the passage of radiation, and where several leaves are arranged adjacent to each other there will ideally be a complete block without any radiation leaking between leaves. As a result, large scale roughness to the surface is not acceptable.
Attempts have been made to reduce reflections by applying various coatings or paints to the reflecting surfaces of the apparatus. Various forms of coatings suffer from the problem that the gap between MLC leaves is usually designed at 90 microns and that therefore the coating must not be greater than 40 microns or else the leaves will jam. Matt paints produce a surface that is visually non-reflective when viewed perpendicularly, but that the very small angles at which the light is incident on an MLC leaf the paint is still highly reflective. Furthermore, the paint surface is rarely flat and this causes quality control problems. Of course, any paint layer must add thickness to the leaves, and where there is close contact between surfaces the paint can be eroded due to wear.
Dissimilar material coatings could be applied, but suffer from the risk of de-lamination and are unlikely to be flat in the context of a 40 micron layer.
One possibility is to oxidise the surface of the leaf, and this proves to be beneficial in that a significant reduction in the reflectivity is obtained. However, if the oxidation is limited to levels that do not adversely affect the physical properties of the leaf, the reduction in reflectivity is inadequate.
It will thus be appreciated that, in order to allow continued reliable operation of a multi leaf collimator whose leaves are treated in this way, the method must not significantly distort the geometrical characteristics of the surface to which it is applied, in particular its flatness.
As can be seen from
It is to be understood that the stepped profile illustrated in
In practice, whilst the reflectivity of a surface is difficult to define or measure, there are accepted forms of measurement apparatus which produce an output in Lux. Whilst the specific number will often be particular to the measurement apparatus used, these results are comparable across different surfaces. Table 1 below shows the reflectivity of various forms of surface treatment, and it can be seen that a machined, stepped profile applied in accordance with the present invention delivers reflectivity which is markedly less than other known forms of treatment.
Reflected light at
40 μm in
Mean Lux value
HS21 mist spray
Matt black paint
mist spray delivery
Shot blasted Al
Shot blasted glass
Step profiled leaf
As can be seen, the Lux value for the machined surface is 0.8 Lux, significantly lower than is experienced using other listed methods which have been discussed earlier in this specification.
It will of course be understood that many variations may be made to the above-described embodiment without departing from the scope of the present invention.
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|U.S. Classification||250/491.1, 250/505.1|
|International Classification||G01N23/00, G01N21/00, G01J1/00, G02B5/00, G21K1/00, A61N5/10, G21K1/02|
|Cooperative Classification||G21K1/02, A61N2005/1056, A61N5/1042|
|European Classification||G21K1/02, A61N5/10D|
|May 30, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ELEKTA AB, SWEDEN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BOURNE, DUNCAN NEIL;STREAMER, RALPH PETER;CREED, QUENTIN;REEL/FRAME:019352/0554;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070313 TO 20070327
Owner name: ELEKTA AB, SWEDEN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BOURNE, DUNCAN NEIL;STREAMER, RALPH PETER;CREED, QUENTIN;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070313 TO 20070327;REEL/FRAME:019352/0554
|Jan 27, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4